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Alan McCallum on rural warming

December 22nd, 2002

Alan McCallum has weighed with a rural view of the debate on urban heat islands . I’ve taken the liberty of reproducing his short post in its entirety

As promised in a comment to a post by John Quiggin, here is a splatter diagram of all available Oz rural stations. It is a mistake to believe that because there is a pronounced difference between cities and rural areas [urban warming, or UW] that warming trends are not happening at rural climate stations. I can duplicate this exercise for the world, or assign world stations to about a thousand zones and average in each zone etc etc. The result is the same: The RURALS, as measured, and taking all of them into account, are warming!! Next question??

Don’t just look at the diagram though. Visit Alan’s site for a fascinating comments on a wide range of issues. Alan and I disagree on a lot of things (he lists me as his ‘token leftie’), but I think we agree on a lot of basic values and a fair number of specific issues.

Like me, Alan started getting leery of Keith Windschuttle when he mounted his attack on Popper. And I’m pleased to say that reading Lomborg converted Alan’s view of the global warming issue from “sceptic” to “fence-sitter”. He says

I still think that the data is not in, but just because the data is not in it is still possible to take a “guess”. And this “guess”, the mainstream scientific opinion, is probably right to some extent on the simple grounds that it is [almost] impossible for me to imagine either a major conspiracy, or a complete failure of the peer-review system. If either possibility were true Science is in serious difficulties.

This isn’t far from my own view of the issue, though I see the evidence as a bit more solid than Alan does, certainly enough to justify precautionary actions like Kyoto.

Update Aaron Oakley at Bizarre Science has blogged at inordinate length about the fact that I didn’t provide statistical evidence of significance here. He doesn’t appear to have noticed that I am linking to a scatterplot drawn by Alan McCallum, so obviously I don’t have the original data. In any case, I presented a statistical analysis months ago showing that the upward trend in global temperatures is indeed statistically significant, and Oakley commented several times, so he’s well aware that this issue has been resolved.

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